July 12, 2008 - Saturday of the 7th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Judges 7:1-23; Galatians 1:1-24

We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness, In the midst of Your temple. (from the Introit for Trinity 8)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What exactly is “lovingkindness” anyway? And why are we in the midst of God's temple thinking about it? “Lovingkindness” can also be translated “mercy.” It means God doing what we don't deserve all the time. Of course, that “lovingkindness” isn't so much an attitude on God's part as it is what He does in His Son. Jesus is God's “lovingkindness.” Jesus is God's mercy. Apart from Jesus, there is no talking about God's grace or mercy or anything like that. Apart from Jesus, the only God there is to talk about is the one who smites people who don't obey Him. In Christ, though, we have “lovingkindness,” that is, a God who does not give us what our sins deserve, but for the sake of His own Son's death, forgives our sins and remembers them no more.

The Psalmist goes to God's house and meditates, that is, thinks about, ponders, and reflects upon all that the Lord has done and still does for Him. When we go to church, our liturgy, our hymns and our preaching are all about one thing: God's lovingkindness, that is, Jesus. From the sign of the cross made at the Invocation, to the Absolution and the singing of God's praises for what He has done in Christ, God's people have their ears and all their attention turned to Jesus. In the forgiving flood of Baptism, it's all Jesus, washing away sins. In the Scriptures that teach us about Jesus to the sermon which delivers Jesus, it's all about what He's doing. We cry out in prayer for everyone who has need, in Jesus' name. And Jesus Himself is present in His body and blood to give us another dose of God's lovingkindness.

We make a mistake if we think going to church is about us doing something for Jesus. (As if Jesus needed cheerleaders to tell Him how great He is!) We also make a mistake if we think we go to church to learn about Jesus. No, just some facts about Jesus won't do us any good. No, we go to church to have Jesus delivered to us, to come to us, to forgive us, and actually shower us with His lovingkindness. It's what the liturgy always points to. It's what the hymns always confess. It's what the Word and Sacrament deliver: God's lovingkindness showered upon you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

How can I thank You, Lord, For all Your lovingkindness, That You have patiently Borne with me in my blindness! When dead in many sins And trespasses I lay, I kindled, holy God, Your anger ev'ry day. It is Your work alone That I am now converted; O'er Satan's work in me You have Your pow'r asserted. Your mercy and Your grace That rise afresh each morn Have turned my stony heart into a heart newborn. (LSB 703:1,2)